Where to learn to surf in the UK holiday cottages


Where to learn to surf in the UK

Ruth 22 October 2019

Maybe you’ve fancied surfing since you watched Keanu Reeves in Point Break or perhaps – like me – your burning childhood ambition wasn’t to be a doctor or lawyer, but to be as awesome as Kate Bosworth in Blue Crush. Or it could just be that you want an injection of ‘cool’ in your life.

Let's be real: whatever the problem in your life – surfing is the answer to it. Not only does it give you major style points (unless you’re stacking it face-first into the sea…), it’s been scientifically proven that proximity to the sea is better for your mental health.

Good news is, you don’t need to book a budget-busting (and, let’s be honest, planet-polluting) flight to Cali to find the best waves (although we kinda do want to visit for the epic weather). The UK is home to some truly world-class waves… and some not-so world-class for budding surfers too.

Here are our top picks of the best UK breaks for beginners, and some chic beach houses to stay in while you’re there.



Let’s start at the UK’s home of surfing (and pasties) – Cornwall. Surfing has been a ‘thing’ here since 1929 and the coastline offers some of the most consistent waves in the country due to its unsheltered location jutting out into the Atlantic Ocean. If Cornwall is the surfing capital of the UK, then Newquay is the surfing capital of Cornwall; you could go there for a wide choice of surf schools, but you’ll also find lots of crowds to battle.

Head up the coast a bit to Polzeath, where you’ll find a quieter beach with gently rolling waves and plenty of surf schools who are willing to teach you how to ride them.

Find out how else you can spend a weekend in North Cornwall.

Where to stay

Pennant Cottage, Port Isaac | sleeps 6 + 1 dog

Pennant Cottage

😍 Country views

😍 Crackling open fire

😍 Bring your doggo

😍 Only 2 miles from the sea



Like its south-west sister, Devon also boasts incredible waves but is slightly less well-known for its surfing than Cornwall – think of it as the Khloe in Kim’s shadow.

This isn’t quite true in Croyde, where the tiny bay is packed with some of the country’s best surfers, however if you travel down the coast to Westward Ho!, you’ll find over 2 miles of secluded sandy beach, slow and consistent waves and almost as many surf schools as pubs – which is our kind of golden ratio.

Here’s how the locals spend the weekend in North Devon.

Where to stay

Seaview Retreat, Westward Ho! | sleeps 6 + 2 dogs

Seaview Retreat
😍 Sunsets from the balcony

😍 Instagrammable interiors

😍 Your very own hot tub

😍 Bring two of your doggos


Surf Snowdonia
Surf Snowdonia credit: Instagram @advparcsnowdonia

Roughly on the same stretch of coast as Devon and Cornwall, Wales’ Pembrokeshire coastline also benefits from the same swell that produces the South West’s high-quality waves and, as such, is a great destination for a super-secluded beginners’ surf trip.

Or you could go up the country to Surf Snowdonia, the world’s first inland surf lagoon, where its man-made waves are more predictably reliable than those in the sea – kind of like calling an Uber vs waiting for a bus.

Where to stay

Maes Yr Hendre, Conwy Valley | sleeps 8 + 2 dogs

Maes Yr Hendre

😍 Super-luxe freestanding bath

😍 Crackling wood burner

😍 Your very own hot tub

😍 Two pups welcome


Cromer credit: Instagram @eastcoastsurfuk

Being on the total opposite side of the country to Devon and Cornwall (thanks, GCSE geography), you wouldn’t expect Norfolk to get much in the way of swell. But you can catch some fantastic waves as it’s the unexpected capital of surfing in Norfolk.

Its under-the-radar location makes it a great destination for learning to surf on quiet beaches, plus you have the lovely Norfolk Coast Path and the super-cool city of Norwich to explore when you’re not in the sea.

Where to stay

High Tide House, Mundesley | sleeps 6 (no dogs)

High Tide House

😍 Modern, chic interiors

😍 Walk to the beach

😍 Sky Q for box-set binging

😍 Welcome pack to enjoy #gifted



The temperatures may not be on-point in Scotland, but the waves certainly are. The pros head right up to the end of the country at Thurso, but you can find easy waves closer to the border in Belhaven Bay, plus loads of surf schools too.

Not only is it a great location for surfing, you’re only an hour away from both Edinburgh (for almond lattes and avo on toast) and Northumberland, where the peaceful and remote coastal landscape will give a whole new meaning to the word ‘contactless’.

Where to stay

The Lodge – North Berwick | sleeps 6 + 1 dog

The Lodge

😍 Scandi-style interiors

😍 Crackling wood burner

😍 5 miles from the beach

😍 Bring your doggo



Surfing? In a city?? Hear us out – Bristol is about to become home to the country’s coolest and most high-tech wave garden which promises to provide over 1,000 waves an hour: The Wave. It’s not just for the pros though – you can book beginner lessons in serene, uncrowded and highly artificial surf.

When you’re surfed out, you’ve got Bristol’s cool and quirky shops, bars and restaurants to explore – or just enjoy some hard-earned Netflix and naps at your holiday home. 

Where to stay

Elwell Stables West Wing, Bristol | sleeps 4 (no dogs)


😍 Modern and stylish interior

😍 Crackling wood burner and underfloor heating

😍 Surrounded by countryside

😍 8 miles from Bristol centre

Want to make BFFs with your surfboard? Now you’ve discovered the best places to learn to surf, it’s time to book that Pinterest-worthy cottage by the coast for a surf trip to remember.

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

How to spend a weekend in Snowdonia
Kate W 31 December 2019
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